NTPC has a total employee strength of over 19,000 people. One would wonder what challenges an HR leader faces when managing various talent operations.
In an exclusive interaction with ETHRWorld, Dillip Kumar Patel, Director – HR, NTPC, shares in detail how the HR processes at NTPC have evolved over time with support from the leadership and the various stakeholders. He also talks about the hiring plans of India’s largest power generating company, for 2021. Edited excerpts:
How do you manage HR operations for such a large organisation? What challenges do you usually face and how do you approach them? Please share some examples.
The systems and the processes at NTPC have evolved over time based on continuous feedback from the stakeholders. In public sector organisations, building momentum for change can be challenging. But at NTPC the support from the leadership and the various stakeholders has made it easier to implement the changes. NTPC takes conscious efforts in creating awareness amongst its stakeholders and enables them to see the link between our initiatives and NTPC’s vision.
To be resilient in the fast-moving digital future, NTPC has embraced the new-age technology to provide digital solutions for Monitoring and Measuring performance of the key HR processes and also digitalize processes wherever possible. All our functions and systems are online and employees can now log in to their personalized space on the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) portal, called Employee Self Service (ESS), and use it for various purposes like applying for leaves, loans, reimbursements, claims, training, performance management, salary related matters, transfers and various other miscellaneous services.
CPM (corporate performance management) and BI (business intelligence) modules aid in predictive analytics for various process owners. Online Meetings through Pradip Meeting Management System and Video Conferencing have further elevated the working experience in NTPC providing flexibility and accessibility.
The wide range of the impact of technology can be clearly viewed on the HR functions, such as Recruitment, Training & Development, Performance Management, Payroll & Attendance records, Employee Benefits, etc. Such technological and digital advancements that we have initiated at the workplace have increased work flexibility, reduced costs and administrative burdens, and enabled quick decision making.
Recently, NTPC announced plans for recruiting only women executives as a special recruitment drive across its areas of operations. Please share details of the drive. Is there a target in mind to achieve in terms of increasing the women workforce?
Gender balanced workplace and workplace equality are the two parameters where NTPC aspires to excel as an employer of choice. Hence, it is decided to conduct a special recruitment drive for hiring female engineers with a view to promote diversity at the workplace and cultivate a more inclusive workforce, and we found Women’s Day as an apt day for announcing the same.
Qualifying requirements for the post and other procedural modalities are being worked out.
What is the current appraisal and performance evaluation policy at NTPC? What changes are expected to be seen in regard to KPIs, compensation evaluation and other measurement in the near future at the organisation and in general?
We had revamped our Performance Management System (PMS) in 2019 on the basis of feedback received from our employees and business leaders to progress towards a continuous performance assessment, timely feedback and management.
The new PMS system has introduced elements like Team KPAs and Weekly Planner and has delinked the assessment of Competency, Potential and Core Value (CPV) of executives by Reporting Officers and the CPV is being evaluated by an independent agency for an unbiased assessment.
The new system is based on a technology driven platform to minimize subjectivity, comply timelines and help in MIS (management information system) for better analytics and is more user-friendly and now also available on the internet.
One of the significant changes in the new scheme is the provision for Weekly Planner, a tool for continuous assessment and feedback which has replaced the earlier system of Mid-Year Review.
To make the process more robust, we have started the Weekly Planner which is a communication log between the Appraisee and the Reporting Officer and the same is being maintained online leveraging the use of technology.
There is also a special achievements/guidance tab which enables reporting officers to give immediate and constant feedback and which also acts as a log to differentiate between a performer and non-performer. The system has helped us in reinforcing good performance in time and has acted as a trigger for identifying areas for mid-course correction and developmental interventions.
Currently, the Weekly Planner has a weightage in the annual performance rating of an individual. In future, we hope to link the system to the larger talent framework of reward and recognition and use L&D to plug performance gaps through the year.
As the HR head, how do you make sure the employees’ expectations are balanced with the organisational demand? What changes have you observed recently in this regard?
NTPC believes that the right balance between an organisation’s demands and employees’ expectations is met when an organisation can progress consistently on its growth trajectory while continuously engaging with employees and driving them to be world class professionals and individuals. We try to achieve the same through building a high performance work culture in which established goals are relevant and achievable and regular feedback on performance is provided, but most importantly, at the same time also encourages diversity of talent and approaches.
The nature of our workforce is changing with the influx of Gen-Z in both the executive and non-executive grades who are increasingly mobile and tech-savvy and also a large number of employees superannuating in the next 2 to 3 years.
It is important for us to sustain the engagement levels of our workforce and inspire our employees to overlook the hardships of working miles away from cities in difficult terrain and work as a team or a larger family towards achieving their goal.
Our endeavour is to build NTPC into a ‘Great Place to Work for All’. Our continuously evolving talent strategy rests on four pillars – Competence, Commitment, Culture and Systems building and is based on the credo of People before PLF (Plant Load Factor).
It is manifested in the way we acquire, engage, groom, motivate and retain talent. Our major talent practices include educating and involving employees about their workplace, how their roles contribute to the business and the opportunities for innovation and developing new skills and rewarding them, eventually culminating in providing a positive experience to all.
Our success is borne out by our attrition rate being less than 1 per cent.
What quality do you usually look for in a candidate while recruiting? What are your views on providing a positive onboarding experience?
We clearly define the roles within the organisation and specify not only the tasks of the job but the exact competencies, abilities and job-related behaviours that are critical for success. These qualifying requirements are accordingly built-in the recruitment advertisement for any given role or position.
Since power generation involves sophisticated technical expertise, academic excellence plays an important role in the entire hiring process. Final assessment tool for almost all of our hiring is the personal interview, which tests the technical/functional ability of the candidate along with competency in behavioural approach and logical reasoning.
Moreover, all our interview boards are multi-rater selection boards consisting of both external & internal members to ensure fair & objective hiring decisions. Other traits that the selection process evaluates the candidates on are adaptability, cultural fitness and learning orientation.
In an organisational set-up like ours, concerted efforts of various departments and synergy of teams play an important role at the workplace.
Hence, teamwork is another important characteristic that is ascertained in most of our recruitments through a Group Discussion exercise. Other evaluation parameters include approach to problem solving through mutual respect, flexibility, reasoning ability and communication skills etc.
How many people NTPC plans to onboard this year? What was the hiring number in 2020?
NTPC currently has 19,918 employee strength and plans to onboard approximately 400 employees in 2021 on regular rolls as well as on a fixed-term basis across various levels and functions. Even with the pandemic looming large on the overall industrial scenario, the hiring number in 2020 was 352.
How does NTPC ensure the wellbeing of its employees?
NTPC has successfully confronted the challenges posed by Covid-19. From embracing Work from Home (WFH) at some locations, to adapting to new age technology, the NTPC leadership has played a pivotal role in the adoption of the new normal to navigate through the initial phase of the Covid period.
We ensured all our employees, including contractual workers, were provided with medical facilities along with food and shelter during the lockdown phase. With industry crawling back to normalcy, we ensured that every guideline by the government is stringently abided to avoid the spread of the virus.
Awareness camps and campaigns were conducted across operations and every social platform of NTPC to educate our stakeholders on the prevailing situation. Standard Operating Practices were curated centrally for each work area, including township. Directive for open meetings at frequent intervals were in place for better and safe coordination among the workforce.
We also provided the best available medical facilities to our employees and their families to ensure mental and physical wellbeing and also to boost their morale during the tough times. One Speciality Covid Care Centre was operative in each region; a medical advisory committee comprising doctors of national repute was also formed.
Extensive use of Telemedicine Infrastructure through C-DAC (Paramarsh App) along with specialists and super specialists from renowned hospitals were made available at certain sites as the Covid-19 situation was prevailing across the country.
Through an in-house platform Jeevan Rekha, medical advice was provided to more than 60,000 patients during the lockdown period. Further, a holistic wellness programme was run in association with the ‘Art of Living’, where the employees and their family members of all ages participated. We also collaborated with an Employee Assistance Programmes partner and launched a counselling helpline for employee wellbeing.
For vaccination, we are adhering to the government guidelines. We have started the vaccination process after asking our employees to fill certification on NTPC HMS (Hospital Management Services) Portal for comorbidities like diabetes and any other immunodeficiency diseases.
We are reimbursing all our employees and their family members as well for the vaccination.
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